Home: A poem by August Wilson

Written for Yale Repertory Theatre, 1985


My face in the mirror.

The buttons on my coat.

The coin in my pocket.


These are my compatriots.


My compatriots & I

ask for your attention.


We are going to begin now.


My compatriots & I have traveled

many roads. Some circuitous,

some sharp & straight,

others brambled & rough,

& all of them have led

as if by some grand design,

to the one burnished with art

& small, irrevocable tragedies.


We have carried in our pockets

to bargain our passage,

memory, peaches, acorns,

& a wild heart that plies its trade

with considerate & alarming passion.


Some roads have opened to us.

Some have refused to our bargain.

& bred landscapes of severe wolves

to blunt & discourage our advance.

Others, closed for repairs,

shall remain closed & wanting forever.


My compatriots & I have come

from many places, many tapestries of roads,

to come now, in our fortieth year,

to this place rich with welcome;

remembering the time we batted .400

& sent eleven homeruns crashing into the windows of the houses

behind the park, how we would touch

each base nonchalantly,

& the same bases, the same object:


To find a way home even at the start.


My compatriots & I

we arrive here at this place

knowing the measure of distance

that between that space & this, like

the space between a man’s hand &

a woman’s hair, are many passages

of tremor & trust.


My compatriots & I

We take off our hat.

We salute you.

We walk up to the door.

We open it & enter.

We take off our hat.

We hang it up.

We give you, with love & thanks

‘this bloodless execution

of the alphabet.’


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